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Statement from World Bank Country Manager Mr. Patchamuthu Illangovan

February 27, 2008

February 27, 2008 - Nam Theun 2 is now at an important point, and we are stepping up our efforts to ensure that the people affected by the project -- on the plateau and downstream -- are properly looked after. Their well-being, and the need to ensure the environment is protected, are at the top of our agenda.

We are increasing our presence on-site to make sure the benefits are being delivered, compensation plans are being implemented and additional vegetation clearance is taking place in the future reservoir area. These include not just doing more to ensure that the new livelihood programs are working properly, but ensuring that where people are in temporary need, they receive adequate rice and protein to maintain their standard of living.

It is important to understand that this project is enormously complex.  There have been challenges in making sure the social and environmental aspects progressed at the same rate as the construction. Our commitment has been, and remains unequivocally that, while there may be some issues along the way, this project will benefit the people of Lao PDR, including especially those whose lives are most directly touched by it. Already, the project has provided significantly better housing to the affected people, better schools, better health clinics, and better roads in the plateau. It will deliver much more, to all the people of Lao PDR, in the years ahead.